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Caroline Chinery and Rob Bragagnolo are both coming together to create a space that celebrates the summer, outdoor grilling and soaking up the "everything" that we couldn’t have during lockdown. Labora will be running the food menu and Cold Tea will take care of the beverages.
Labora's food menu is focused on cooking over live coals, or "a la brasa" as they say in Spain. Cooking over wood fire grills is a long-standing tradition in Spain, and this technique coaxes out the naturally explosive flavours of the ingredients, while simple plate presentation allows the food to shine without relying on gimmicks.
The rotating, chalkboard-style menu will focus on sustainably-sourced seafood, local seasonal produce and select artisanal meats, creating a food program that supports local, small farms and producers as much as possible. You can find dishes like the Turbot Steak with Fogo Island shrimp sauce or the Iberico Spare Ribs made with a piquillo pepper glaze. The Labora team describes the menu as "rustic Spanish technique [with[ Canadian ingredients." For those with a sweet tooth, don't miss out on the Grilled Strawberries & Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream topped with Spring Creek raw honey, pink peppercorn and basil.
Chinery and Bragagnolo have been in the hospitality business for over twenty years collectively. Together, they opened and ran three properties in Mallorca, Spain between 2004 and 2014, including a casual tapas bar, a brasserie as well as a Michelin-starred gastronomic restaurant. Their experience ranges from fine dining to larger, high volume businesses. Bragagnolo graduated with distinction from a hotel school in Neuchatel, Switzerland, staged front of house at the "Intercontinental Geneva" and back of house at "Tickets" in Barcelona. Chinery managed reservations and administration at Ruth’s Chris and Habour Sixty here in Toronto.
Their most recent venture, Labora on King West, received recognition in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and was featured in many of Toronto’s various “Top 10” lists since it opened in 2017. Labora was also previously on the Food Network's Big Food Bucket List show where Bragagnolo teaches how to make a paella and Spanish tortilla.
Find Labora pop-up at Cold Tea's Queen West location at 1186 Queen Street West. They are open for walk-ins on Wednesday to Friday beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations will also be available as of July 17.